Epp- English Paper Piecing

I learned how to quilt back in the the late 1970’s, we cut templates from cardboard, marked  each one on the fabric and cut out the patches with scissors. I recently learned that the Olfa rotary cutters were created about the same time, by the 1980’s they had entered the quilt world. Today we can’t imagine life without them. I also use them for cutting out my sewing patterns. Amazing what a tool will do to change your life.Olfa rotarty cuttersSo back in those dark days, I remember EPP, this was how the English traditionally made their quilt tops. Often using newsprint, or other cheap paper, they would cut each patch out of paper, sew a piece of fabric to that backing and then sew the patches together.  There are historical quilts where the paper was never removed. Traditionally once the top was finished all the paper came out before the quilt sandwich was created.  Quilt tops remain with paper intact – what an interesting way to try and recreate the local history of the day based on snippets of newspaper.

Today this method is used for difficult shapes. most common, the hexagon.P1020513Here a basic grandmother’s flower garden patch, I have basted the paper to the fabric and with tiny stitches attach the hexies together. I have seen comparisons of hand and machine sewing – although it is more work, the end result of the hand sewing is much more accurate and the hexies lie flatter.IMG_2475In this case I had ordered precut card stock templates. Following instructions online, I punched a hole – to make it easier to remove later as well as glued the fabric to the base. I don’t like this method. You can clearly see where the glue didn’t hold. On the one hand you don’t want a permanent glue, but having it release too early means the shape may not be accurate.  Also, when sewing the hexies together, there is always a Y-join. I had to fold the card stock  in order to do so, which can create distortions.IMG_2474The end result is good, but a little too much strain on my hands. IMG_2491So for my next project I’m cutting my paper out of printer paper with a die-cutter. This only affords me the one size. Since this is a sometime project for me, I don’t see myself investing in a large Die-cut machine yet.P1020522Quilting with my walking foot. P1020541End result? Another Sewtogether Bag. You are not seeing double, there are two of them, I’m in love with this bag and what a wonderful gift it makes. Sew Together bagP1020534I so enjoyed making this bag with EPP that I am making another one for myself.



Last year lace was the rage. I am happy to see it still is since I’m a year late to the party. On one of my visits to Mood I picked up this geometric lace and the perfect backing fabric.lace fabric for dressNext was deciding what pattern to use.Pattern for lace dressUmm, yeah, I do have quite a collection of patterns.  Simplicity 1425 was my choice for the top of the dress, Yes, McCall’s is also very cute but it calls for boning, and I just wasn’t in the mood for that.inner bodiceI carefully pressed and clipped the neckline on the inner bodice.Front bodiceI also added a waistband to separate the bodice from the skirt.Here you can see clearly the difference between the lined and unlined portion of the bodice. P1020244

I ended up using this pattern for the skirt.  In the past I have made this skirt, it is a half circle – so there is fullness but not as much as a full circle skirt – which can be overwhelming.

 I would say this dress is halfway couture.  I had taken the Craftsy class The Couture Dress, a very worth while class by the way.  I have incorporated a lot of hand sewing, not quite as much as a real couture dress, I still love my serger.20140512-111424The inside of the dress is very clean, I did fine hand stitching on the bias tape (made from the lining fabric) binding around the armholes and neckline. I also did a very fine stitch to attach the lace to the lining on the front bodice. don’t want anything moving or sagging.  You can see that I used the serger wherever I could. Combining sewing techniques works for me.P1020294Love the clean finish of both the invisible zipper and the bias binding. Since I cut the back pieces on a fold, I did get a very good match of the fabric. I am actually very impressed with the result.Lace Dress

Done, beautiful and very well fitted. No, I didn’t do a muslin, I made corrections as I sewed. The joy of being very proficient – I make modifications as I go along.

Click on the slideshow to see the dress in action.  Me twirling in this dress, it is very comfy. I will wear it the first time at the Rehearsal dinner for the boys, which is less than 2 weeks away! Yikes.


Urban nine patch Quilt

When I start a large project, like a quilt, I like to work through and finish it. I’ll have knitting on the side and maybe some easy dresses for the granddaughter.  Not so with this project.  There have been serious interruptions.Basic urban nine patch blockThis is the urban nine patch block, designed by Jenny Pedigo, using her wonderful quick curve ruler. The sewing and quilting worlds are full of gadgets, gizmos and tools of the trade. Sure, I’ve bought some that really weren’t worth it, but others like this ruler are wonderful.Quick curve rulerJenny is so busy designing patterns to go with this ruler, I haven’t even tried to create my own yet.blocks on pointMy colors tend to be brighter, more jewel tone. I had bought a few of these fabrics with my friend Becky in Orange County. I was looking for something different. This is what we in the quilting world call low volume.  With a punch of color in the reds and green.

On Flicker there was a quilt along group. Although they finished their quilts long ago, it gave me some good ideas about the layout. I love the blocks on point rather than on edge. I love how when put together this way, bright bold green circles emerge.Center of urban nine patchI had a few fabrics at home to add to the mix but that was it. I didn’t  want to run out and buy a lot more. Sometimes being forced to use fewer fabrics makes the quilt much more interesting and less scrappy looking. Actually I did have to buy more of the background fabric, luckily I got the end of the bolt at Sew Modern and yes I bought one more of the peach colored fabrics as well.

Now for the border, I guess you can’t take the scrappy out of the quilter after all.http://sewmodern.com/shop/The three fabrics that didn’t go into the border are the background, the inner squares and the dark green.  There was some creative engineering to get the corners to fit. But hey, it’s fabric and it’s a quilt, so I made it work.

I finished the top a few months ago, other projects and a not very helpful sewing machine got in the way. I’ve finished a baby quilt and the Chuppah as well as sewing clothes and other items.  So it is high time that I start working again on this quilt.



Time for crochet

If asked what I prefer knitting or crochet, my first response will be knitting. Then I have to qualify that answer – garments, socks, shawls are best knitted. Crochet is very different and is wonderful for fine lace, Kippahs and softies – or hug-able animals.

Sometimes I see a pattern and that is exactly what I want -no need to put my own stamp on it, such was the case with
Fatty Lumpkin

Just like the original
Just like the original

At my local JoAnn’s I found wonderful baby skeins of colorful acrylic yarn. Yes, for soft toys, acrylic is great .  I followed the 24 page instruction booklet to a tee,  no getting extra creative here.

African flower, a wonderful  new take on the granny square
African flower, a wonderful new take on the granny square
building the pony from the back legs up
building the pony from the back legs up

Kudos to Heidi Bear for designing this  pony, I am always happy to pay for other peoples’ hard work.  I wouldn’t have the patience to figure out how to put this together.

Stuff as you go, otherwise it just won't work
Stuff as you go, otherwise it just won’t work

The eyes aren’t the animal eyes you can buy and insert, they are simply black buttons.

I wasn’t sure where this little fellow was going to end up living. With friends having babies, there would always be a good home for this fellow.  Those babies will get something else, this pony isn’t going anywhere.

Hubby loves his new toy
Hubby loves his new toy